Mission notebook, Day 7: Scoreboard watching (why N.J. loves doing it now)

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Gov. Phil Murphy talked about three things at every stop of the New Jersey East Asia Economic Mission: The state’s educated workforce, the state’s progressive values — and the state’s spot on the scoreboard sheet that Choose New Jersey created.

To be sure, the state has been getting a lot of favorable ratings from reputable independent services (that is, not WalletHub or list services like that). A look:

  • Broadband: No. 4;
  • Clean energy job growth: No. 4;
  • Economic opportunity: No. 10;
  • Gun safety: No. 2;
  • Health care: No. 8;
  • Higher education: No. 4;
  • Improved business environment: No. 1 (to be fair, this means NJ. made highest leap, it was No. 19 overall);
  • Live and work: No. 3;
  • Minimum wage: No. 5;
  • Pre-K education: No. 1;
  • Public safety: No. 3;
  • Raising a family: No. 7;
  • Reproductive rights: No. 1;
  • Venture capital investment: No. 9;
  • Young professionals: No. 3.

Put together, the state said the statistics showed how New Jersey had an average of “4” overall, good for the top spot against 18 states N.J. often is compared with (Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas, among others).

Murphy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Choose New Jersey are playing this up at every stop. There is a screen graphic that always seems to be shown — and an 8.5×11 glossy handout has been ubiquitous throughout the week (the state apparently has printed up thousands).

The big question: Is it working?

In theory, the state would have to wait weeks to see if the scoreboard has been effective. In reality: it already got the answer.

At an event Thursday morning, Joohyun Kim, the head of strategic planning at Seoul-based bb.q Chicken, held the scorecard up and said, “This is why I chose New Jersey.”

Where is the governor and what day/time is it?

If you’re reading this in New Jersey at 2 p.m. Friday, it’s 2 a.m. Saturday in Taipei, Taiwan — the last full day of the trip.

What happened on Day 7 (Thursday in Taiwan)?

  • A cultural tour of Taipei, which included a brief stop at Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. The skyscraper was listed as the world’s tallest building when it opened in 2004. It held the record for five years — and now is the 10th-tallest building in the world. It might be the fastest. The elevators of Taipei 101 transport passengers from the 5th to the 89th floor in 37 seconds (37.7 mph);
  • Reaffirmation of New Jersey’s support for Taiwan in the form of three Memoranda of Understanding involving economic and educational initiatives;
  • Important MOU signings between Rutgers University and New Jersey Institute of Technology with National Taipei University of Technology — otherwise known as Taipei Tech.

What’s next: Key events for Day 8 (Friday in Taiwan)

  • Biotech event at Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park (with Taiwan BIO and BioNJ);
  • Visit and MOU signing at National Tsing Hua University with NJIT (this will involve semiconductors and artificial intelligence — so it’s hugely important);
  • Startup Island Taiwan: Tour and fireside chat (smart money is on the bet that there will not be an actual fire);
  • Invest in New Jersey reception and dinner, hosted by CDIB Capital Group, with select portfolio companies (this really was the point of the entire mission).

Why are you here? Insights from the delegates

Tony Calcado
Chief operating officer
Rutgers University

“I think that the relationships we build across the world make us that much better in New Jersey. There obviously is an economic component when we get to higher education. We are the people that drive economies, because we’re in so many different sectors — from innovation to training people to all types of things. The broader we get, the better off we all are. So, it’s well worth having these types of relationships and interactions with colleagues throughout the world.”

Quote of the day

“I want to note it’s wonderful to be joined by the Statue of Liberty representation. She is often most associated with New York, our neighbor. Many people do not know that the Statue of Liberty is technically a New Jersey resident — she lives in New Jersey waters.” — Tim Sullivan, CEO of the NJEDA, while standing before a display that featured the Statue of Liberty.

Quick tax stat on N.J.-Taiwan

Currently, Taiwanese companies and individuals doing business in New Jersey (the entire U.S., in fact) are taxed in both places, and vice versa for U.S. companies. But, don’t blame Trenton; this is a federal issue. And Washington, D.C., is trying to do something about it.

To resolve double taxation, the Senate Finance Committee passed the U.S.-Taiwan Expedited Double Tax Relief Act in September. The bill could become law this year, if the full Senate and House approve it and President Joe Biden signs it. Such an act would further enhance Taiwan-U.S. economic and trade ties while attracting even greater Taiwanese investment in the U.S.

Quick sports stat on N.J.-Taiwan

There’s a generation (slightly older now) that first came to know Taiwan for one thing: Little League World Series baseball domination. A team from Taiwan won the Little League World Series 10 times in a 13-year stretch (1969-1981). It should be noted, teams from New Jersey won in two of the three years Taiwan did not (Wayne in 1970; Lakewood in 1975).

The run is not without controversy. Many felt Taiwan was breaking the rules regarding eligibility. And, although it was never proven, Taiwan (and all international teams) was banned from the 1975 event. Taiwan won the LLWS seven more times (between 1986-1996), but has not won since.

And then there’s …

7-Eleven … who knew? They are everywhere in Asia, especially Taiwan, which has approximately 6,500 locations (yes, 6,500) on an island that’s just under 14,000 square miles. New Jersey is approximately half that size at 7,352 square miles.